Gay States Are Happy States

18 03 2009

Thanks to Andrew Sullivan for the heads up on this article from Creative Class:

A lot of good data is in the numbers from the original article:

And what about the creative class? Happy states appear to be creative states – at least as measured by the share of people employed in creative class jobs (with a correlation of .48). The correlations are even higher for the the super-creative core and the the overall creativity index (.53).

Makes you wonder: Are creatives more likely to live in happy places or are they more likely to be happy people? Well… psychologists have identified a powerful relationship between creativity and happiness. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi finds that engaging in creative activities like writing, playing music, computer programming, mountain climbing, or chess is a major source of happiness. But in her workplace studies, Teresa Amabile of Harvard Business School says it works the other way around: She finds that it’s happiness – or should I say happy workplaces – that generate creative thinking and workplace innovation as opposed to vice versa. Psychologist Barbara Fredricksons suggests that “positive” people are more open-minded, less racially biased, more likely to see the bigger picture, and ultimately more creative. So maybe this kind of thing scales up from who we are and what we do to where we live.

On that score, yes, happy states are also apparently those greater concentrations bohemians (.43), immigrants (.36 ), and gays (.32), as well as states with higher levels of high-tech industry (.22) or those with more innovative potential.

But, they also bring up that these “happy” people may be drawn to these areas, rather than these people causing the happiness. We’re looking at correlative evidence with no definite cause.

But it’s still interesting to think about.

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One response

18 03 2009
Jere Keys

Utah is a suspicious high point on the happiness scale. As recently as 2002, Utah also led the nation in the use of anti-depressant medication (almost double the national average).

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